Public event

Was Afghanistan's corruption made in America?

First session of the Democracy promotion after Afghanistan series.

The recent events in Afghanistan once again shed light on the fragility of democracy in conflict-ridden societies and the limits of nation-building abroad. A discussion is needed on how to salvage democracy promotion and not abandon democracy activists who engaged in such difficult areas. Throughout the academic year 2021-2022 Hertie School will host this necessary debate.

We welcome you to join me for the first ERCAS Democracy Series' debate on democracy promotion. We are very pleased to welcome Sarah Chayes (Former Advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff & Former Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and Muska Dastageer (American University of Afghanistan) for an interactive discussion and reflection.

You can find all upcoming and past events on our website.



  • Sarah Chayes's remarkable trajectory has led her from reporting from Paris for National Public Radio and covering the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan to running a soap factory in downtown Kandahar in the midst of a reigniting insurgency. She went on to advise the topmost levels of the U.S. military, serving as special adviser to two commanders of the international forces in Kabul and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen. She left the Pentagon for a five-year stint at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she extracted the broadly relevant core from those experiences. Sarah authored the prize-winning Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, she has just finished On Corruption In America -- And What Is at Stake.

  • Muska Dastageer is a political scientist specialising in peace and political theory. She is a lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan. Muska is an Expert Advisor on the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Dialogues on Afghanistan. Up until December 2020 she also worked as a special anti-corruption advisor with the Joint Taskforce for Anti and Counter Corruption. Prior to this she advised the USAID-funded Afghanistan's Measure for Accountability and Transparency (AMANAT) program and the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, delivering several damning institutional assessments of a great amount of ministries in Kabul in the years 2017 to 2019. She holds two MSc degrees from the University of Oxford and the University of Copenhagen.


  • Alina Mungiu-Pippidi is Professor of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School in Berlin. Her research centres on anti-corruption policy and good governance. Mungiu-Pippidi chairs the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) where she managed the FP7 research project ANTICORRP and the Horizon 2020 project DIGIWHIST. Her research projects have resulted in resources like, and